While the Domain name has been in RockShox’s line-up since 2007 (with only a brief hiatus since 2018), it’s back with a bang in 2021, borrowing much of the tech of the Zeb but in a more affordable package.
With enduro bikes and electric mountain bikes demanding even stiffer, stronger forks, this new option from RockShox uses the super-wide 38mm diameter stanchions we first saw on the Zeb, released last year.
The Domain has always been a long-travel, hard-hitting fork, starting off back in 2007 as a 180mm, 2.8kg monster, and that theme continues today, though with a noticeable weight saving.
RockShox Domain fork key features
- 27.5in and 29in wheel options
- 150 / 160 / 170 / 180mm travel options
- 38mm stanchions
- 44mm offset
- Motion Control R and Motion Control RC variants
- 1.5in taper or 1.8in taper steerer tubes
- 2,540g claimed weight (fork variant unknown)
- 2.8in tyre clearance (27.5in and 29in)
Hard-hitting enduro performance
The new Domain line offers between 150mm and 180mm of travel, with the fork clearly taking much of its DNA from the Zeb. It’s aimed at riders looking for complete authority at the front of their enduro bike or eMTB, where stiffness is king, and stout upper tubes help deliver that.
As you’d expect, the Domain is offered in both wheel sizes, across the whole travel range. Both the 27.5in and 29in forks share the same short 44mm offset for calm handling under pressure.
At the top of the fork, three different depth (front to back) crowns will be offered at OEM level (for the forks you’ll end up seeing specced on off-the-shelf bikes).
This accounts for the oversized head tubes we’re seeing on numerous bikes these days. By offering a deeper crown, the line from frame to fork is smoother and looks less awkward. There’s no reported performance benefit to the different crowns, it’s just aesthetic. The aftermarket fork gets the standard 59mm crown, the smallest of the three.
The eagle-eyed among you might have spotted above a reference to a 1.8in tapered steerer. This is yet another new standard that a small (but apparently growing) number of bike brands have asked for, most specifically for their eMTBs.
Much like the change from 1-1/8in steerers to tapered, we suspect there are (theoretical) stiffness benefits. However, time will tell whether it catches on across the industry. This 1.8in tapered fork will have the deepest 69mm crown.
Otherwise, 38mm stanchions feature, along with a Motion Control RC damper giving both compression and rebound adjustment on the aftermarket fork (there’ll be a simpler Motion Control R fork for OEM, too).
On the air side of things, you get RockShox’s acclaimed DebonAir spring. This can take up to three Bottomless Tokens, with the 150mm and 160mm forks shipping with two pre-installed, the 170mm with one, and the 180mm fork with none plugged in to start.
Inside the fork, RockShox is providing the Maxima Plush damping fluid, the first time the firm has offered this outside of the Signature Series range (Zeb/Lyrik/Pike/SID), which should further boost the fork’s slippery suppleness. All this combines to give a claimed weight of a shade over 2.5kg.
Down at the base of the fork, the brake mount is designed specifically for 200mm rotors. You’re covered if you want to run a 220mm rotor, with an adapter (and an adapter will also be needed if you’re running 203mm rotors).
New RockShox Domain fork price
The aftermarket Domain RC will cost £530 / $549 / €594 and will be available from July 2021.
RockShox Domain – can you upgrade it?
The Domain can be upgraded down the line with RockShox’s easy-to-drop-in replacement damper units.
The ‘R’ fork can have an RC damper fitted (£42 / $42 / €47) or both forks can receive a top-spec Charger 2.1 RC2 damper for £325 / £330 / €365, should you want absolute pro-level damping when you’ve got the cash.
There’s also a remote upgrade, should you want on-bar control of the compression circuit. The OneLoc lever costs £102 / $98 / €114.
As the Domain features a 6000-series aluminium upper tube construction, you won’t be able to upgrade to the Zeb’s air spring, as the Zeb has a higher grade tubeset with different internal dimensions.
Finally, on the upgrade front, a short fender can be added for £20 / $20 / €23. This bolts into the back of the fork’s brace. Aftermarket forks will come with a zip tie fender in the box. The use of fenders may compromise tyre clearance with the very widest 2.8in tyres.
Given we’re seeing the Zeb popping up on a wide range of regular and electric mountain bikes, we suspect the new Domain will be a frequent sight down on the trails, too.
We have a Rockshox Domain here at BikeRadar, so expect a review very soon.